What We Learned About Miami Heat in Season Opener
What Fans Learned About Miami Heat In Season Opener
It was a familiar scene for the Miami Heat on Tuesday night. The NBA Champions began the regular season with a celebration as all members of the 2013 title team received their over-sized, fancy rings.
The ring ceremony has become somewhat of a tradition in South Beach as the Miami has received new hardware three times in the last eight years.
For the Chicago Bulls, it wasn't the first time they witnessed the Heat raise a championship banner up to the rafters.
The Bulls began the '06-'07 season at the American Airlines Arena and crashed Miami's 2006 title celebration with a 108-66 slamming of the champs.
This year was a bit different as the Heat hit the Bulls early and hard, building a 21-point lead at halftime and never letting go. South Florida celebrated a 107-95 victory to start the new season.
Overall, it was a well orchestrated performance by all involved. Miami had seven players in double figures and 26 assists as a team. It was an impressive win over a Chicago team who welcomed back Derrick Rose.
Rose was obviously rusty in his first game in a year and a half, and I expect him to improve. The rest of the meetings between these two teams will increase in competition as Rose and the Bulls rebuild their chemistry.
For Miami, they did many things right and few things wrong. Yes, the front court defense slacked as Carlos Boozer dropped 31 and the Heat committed 18 turnovers, but the bench was incredible, the 3-point shooting was on target and there was some improvement in the rebounding department.
It is only the beginning of a long journey for Miami; here are five things we learned from their opening night victory.
5. No Distractions
David Stern did not seem too happy to be in South Beach, or maybe it was all the boos directed at him that made him upset -- but how about those rings! You would probably have to take out a second mortgage on your house to afford one of those.
The combination of shiny rings and a depressing Stern was not enough to distract the champs. It was clear that Miami has put last season in the past and is focused on the three-peat.
4. Rebounding Has Improved
A team like Chicago is a fantastic rebounding team. The hard-nose style that they play makes them a nightmare on the defensive and offensive boards.
After finishing with the worse rebounding average in the league, Miami did not look like a squad who struggled on the glass. The Bulls barley won the rebounding battle 41-40.
3. Best Defense in the League?
From the get go, Erik Spoelstra and the Heat went with an aggressive defensive approach. The Bulls were greeted with traps and double-teams early in the first quarter.
Miami scored 30 points off turnovers while holding Chicago to 26 percent from the arc and 42 percent overall from the field.
The smaller, quicker lineup may slack in rebounding. But it more than makes up for it in steals, turnovers and fast breaks. This is a scary and intimidating defense that may be the best in the entire association.
2. The Bench is Phenomenal!
the 12-man rotation was a no go, but the bench was the star of this game. Shane Battier, Norris Cole, Ray Allen and
Chris Andersencombined for 42 points. Battier led the charge with 14 points and was 4-of-4 from 3-point land.
Consider the NBA on notice: the Miami bench will take no prisoners this season.
1. Dwyane Wade is Not 100 Percent
Dwyane Wade said he wouldn't be where he wants to be when the season started and he was right. Although "Flash" looked much healthier than in recent memories, there was still something off about him.
The Heat guard was only 5-of-13 from the field for 13 points, but his dominance and the Big 3's dominance was not really needed because the bench was on fire.
Wade and his health will be a popular topic all season; as of right now, there's no need for any concern.